Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
About This Policy
For the purposes of this policy, Montclair State University has used the following definition of terms:
Student – any person who attends or has attended Montclair State University.
Educational Records – any record (in handwriting, print, tapes, film, computer or other medium) maintained by Montclair State University or an agent of the University which is directly related to a student, except:
- A personal record kept by a staff member if it is kept in the sole possession of the maker of the record and is not accessible or revealed to any other person except a temporary substitute for the maker of the record.
- Records created and maintained by the Montclair State University Law Enforcement Unit for law enforcement purposes.
- An employment record of any individual whose employment is not contingent on the fact that he or she is a student, provided the record is used only in relation to the individual’s employment.
- Records made or maintained by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist or other recognized professional or paraprofessional if the records are used only for treatment of a student and made available only to those persons providing the treatment.
- Alumni records which contain information about a student after he or she is no longer in attendance at the University and which do not relate to the person as a student.
As required by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), students will be notified of their FERPA rights annually via “all student E-mail message,” publication in the student handbook, college catalogue and in the Schedule of Courses booklet. This act permits the release of directory information (for complete listing see below) without the prior written consent of the student. It provides only that the information may be released. Montclair State University is not obligated by this law to release directory information to any party other than the student.
PROCEDURES TO INSPECT EDUCATIONAL RECORDS
Students may inspect and review their educational records upon request to the appropriate records custodian.
Students should submit to the records custodian or an appropriate University staff person a written request that identifies as precisely as possible the record or records he or she wishes to inspect.
The records custodian or an appropriate University staff person will make the needed arrangements for access as promptly as possible and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. Access must be given in 45 days or less from the date of receipt of the request.
When a record contains information about more than one student, the student may inspect and review only the records that relate to him.
LIMITATION OF RIGHT OF ACCESS
Montclair State University reserves the right to refuse to permit a student to inspect the following records:
- The financial statement of the student’s parents.
- Letters and statements of recommendation for which the student has waived his or her right of access or which were maintained before January 1, 1975.
- Records connected with an application to attend Montclair State University or a component unit of Montclair State University if that application was denied.
- Those records which are excluded from the FERPA definition or education records.
REFUSAL TO PROVIDE COPIES
While Montclair State University will not deny access to educational records, the University reserves the right to deny copies of records, including transcripts, not required to be made available by FERPA in any of the following situations:
- The student lives within commuting distance of Montclair State University.
- The student has an unpaid financial obligation to the University.
- There is an unresolved disciplinary action against the student.
- The educational record requested is an exam or set of standardized test questions. (An exam or standardized test which is not directly related to a student is not an education record subject to FERPA’s access provisions.)
FEES FOR COPIES OF RECORDS
The fee for copies will be $.50 per page. If copies are mailed, actual postage charges will also be applied.
CUSTODIANS OF EDUCATIONAL RECORDS
The following is a list of the types, location and custodians of records that the University maintains
|Director, Undergraduate Admissions
|The Graduate School
|Dean, Graduate School
|The Graduate School
|Dean, Graduate School
Records (Current students
and five years after
graduation or withdrawal.)
|Office of the Registrar
Records (Former students;
over five years after
graduation or withdrawal.)
|Office of the Registrar
|Student Health Center
|Director, Health Center
|Financial Aid Records
|Office of Financial Aid
|Director, Financial Aid
|Teacher Education Admissions and Certification
|Center of Pedagogy
|Office of Student Accounts
|Office of Career Services
|Director of Career Services
at each College or School
at each College or School
|Office of Dean of Students
|Dean of Students
(Student education records not included in the types listed above, such as minutes of faculty committee meetings, copies of correspondence in offices not listed, etc.)
|The appropriate official will collect such records, direct the student to their location or otherwise make them available for inspection and review.
|The University staff person who maintains such occasional system records.
DISCLOSURE OF EDUCATIONAL RECORDS
Montclair State University will disclose information from a student’s educational records only with the written consent of the student, except that records may be disclosed without consent when the disclosure is:
1. To school officials who have a legitimate educational interest in the records. A school official is:
- A person employed by the university in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research or support staff position, including health or medical staff
- A person elected to the Board of Trustees.
- A person employed by or under contract to the University to perform a special task, such as an attorney or auditor.
- A person who is employed by the Montclair State University Police Department.
- A student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee or who is assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks.
- A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official is:
- Performing a task that is specified in his or her position description or contract agreement.
- Performing a task related to a student’s education.
- Performing a task related to the discipline of a student.
- Providing a service or benefit relating to the student or student’s family, such as health care, counseling, job placement or financial aid.
- Maintaining the safety and security of the campus.
2. To officials of another school, upon request, in which a student seeks or intends to enroll. All records will be forwarded upon request, with the understanding that the student has made the request and intends to enroll at another institution.
3. To certain officials of the U. S. Department of Education, the Comptroller General and state and local educational authorities, in connection with audit or evaluation of certain state or federally supported education programs.
4. In connection with a student’s request for or receipt of financial aid to determine the eligibility amount or conditions of the financial aid or to enforce the terms and conditions of the aid.
5. For degree and enrollment verification wherein the consulting and reviewing institutions are considered school officials with a legitimate educational interest.
6. To state and local officials or authorities if specifically required by a state law that was adopted before November, 19, 1974.
7. To organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the University.
8. To accrediting organizations to carry out their functions.
9. To parents of an eligible student who is claimed as a dependent for income tax purposes.
10. To comply with a judicial order or a lawfully issued subpoena.
11. To appropriate parties in a health or safety emergency.
12.To individuals requesting directory information so designated by the University.
13. The results of any disciplinary proceeding conducted by the University against an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or non-forcible sex offenses.
14. Alcohol or controlled substance. To parents or legal guardian of a student under the age of 21 in connection with use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance in violation of federal, state or local law or of any institutional rule or policy.
RECORDS OF REQUESTS FOR DISCLOSURE
Montclair State University will maintain a record of all requests for and/or disclosures of information from a student’s education records. The record will indicate the name of the party making the request, any additional party to whom it may be re-disclosed and the legitimate interest the party had in requesting or obtaining the information. The eligible student may review the record.
Montclair State University designates the following items as directory information: student name, major field of study, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight and height of members of athletic teams, dates of attendance, photographs, degrees and awards received including deans list status, most recent previous school attended, date of degree conferment, career (UG/GR), status (full-time or part-time) and classification (freshman, sophomore, junior, senior, pre-articulated, provisionally matriculated, matriculated, etc.). Primary address and/or email address will be shared with designated vendors providing the following external services to graduating students: Information about purchasing class rings, yearbooks, commencement photos. The University may disclose any of those items without prior written consent, unless notified in writing to the contrary by the end of the second week of the semester.
PRIOR WRITTEN CONSENT
A student must provide a signed and dated written consent before Montclair State University may disclose personally identifiable information from the student’s education records, except as provided for above. The written consent must:
- Specify the records that may be disclosed;
- State the purpose of the disclosure; and
- Identify the party or class of parties to whom the disclosure may be made.
Requests from students for disclosure to third parties that are sent by e-mail or by the Internet using student identification numbers and PINs may not be considered written consent for disclosure.
SEXUAL OFFENDERS DISCLOSURE
FERPA does not prohibit the disclosure of information provided to Montclair State University as a result of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. Information provided by individuals required to register with state officials as a result of that law may be disclosed in accordance with the disclosure of records policies.
TERMINATION OF FERPA RIGHTS
Unless otherwise so directed by the student, FERPA rights terminate upon the death of the student. Records can be requested by the next of kin.
CORRECTION OF EDUCATIONAL RECORDS
Students have the right to ask to have records corrected that they believe are inaccurate, misleading or in violation of their privacy rights. Following are the procedures for the correction of records:
- A student must ask the appropriate official of Montclair State University to amend a record. In so doing, the student must identify the part of the record to be amended and specify why the student believes it is inaccurate, misleading or in violation of his or her privacy rights.
- Montclair State University may comply with the request or it may decide not to comply. If it decided not to comply, the University will notify the student of the decision and advise the student of his or her right to a hearing to challenge the information believed to be inaccurate, misleading or in violation of the student’s privacy rights.
- Upon request, Montclair State University will arrange for a hearing and notify the student reasonably in advance, of the date, place and time of the hearing.
- The hearing will be conducted by a hearing officer who is a disinterested party; however, the hearing officer may be an official of the institution. The student shall be afforded a full and fair opportunity to present evidence relevant to the issues raised in the original request to amend the student’s educational records. One or more individuals, including an attorney, may assist the student.
- Montclair State University will prepare a written decision based solely on the evidence presented at the hearing. The decision will include a summary of the evidence presented and the reasons for the decision.
- If Montclair State University decides that the information is inaccurate, misleading or in violation of the student’s right of privacy, it will amend the record and notify the student, in writing, that the record has been amended.
- If Montclair State University decides that the challenged information is not inaccurate, misleading or in violation of the student’s right of privacy, it will notify the student that he or she have a right to place in the record a statement commenting on the challenged information and/or a statement setting forth reasons for disagreeing with the decision.
- The statement will be maintained as a part of the student’s education records as long as the contested portion is maintained. If Montclair State University discloses the contested portion of the record, it must also disclose the statement.